Chen Chieh-jen (b. 1960) has been a key figure in the development of Taiwanese conceptual art since the early 1980s. A self-taught artist, he was a prominent figure during Taiwan’s martial law period, challenging the limits of expression with guerrilla performances, underground exhibitions, and interventions in public spaces.
Chen’s practice has continued to reflect on the historical events through which he has lived, though he is now best known for ambitious video works that directly address social and political upheavals in contemporary Taiwan. He is particularly concerned with individual experience within communal settings, such as prisons, factories and places of industry.
Chen’s films typically rely on the conventions of documentary filmmaking to elegantly weave together real and historical fiction, past and present, reality and illusion.
ACMI gratefully acknowledges the support of the 20th Biennale of Sydney in bringing Chen Chieh-jen to Australia. This event is made possible with generous assistance from the Nelson Meers Foundation.
Talks & Performances
Presented in association with the 20th Biennale of Sydney
Chen Chieh-jen: Factory
Taiwanese artist Chen Chieh-jen will present his seminal work Factory (2003), a 30-minute silent film made in collaboration with workers from the Lien Fu garment factory, seven years after its closing.
The film captures post-industrial decay in Taiwan, but is also a meditation on the passing of time, offering an elegiac commentary on human resilience in the wake of economic advancement.
“On the surface, it's to do with globalisation − factories are moveable but employees aren't," says the artist. "The deeper part of the message is to show the human factor that stayed. There are certain things that are not changeable."